Thursday, November 13, 2014

NTDS (15) Beware of the Pharisee inside of You

Matt 12:12  So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."  NASU

Jesus and His disciples were going through a grain field on a Sabbath day. They were hungry, so they began pick some heads of grain and ate them. Immediately, the Pharisees who saw them doing this began to judge them, saying, “Look, your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.” They were accusing Jesus of breaking the Law of Moses. These Pharisees were continually looking for chances to accuse Jesus and they saw this as an opportunity. Were they correct? Were Jesus and His disciples “violating the Law?”

If you look at Exodus 20, verses 8-11, you will see that God simply told His people to rest from their normal labor. It was a day to keep holy or in other words, spend in time of worship of the Lord. It was not meant to be a burden people. The scribes and Pharisees had added thirty-nine actions that were forbidden because in their judgment, it would be considered work. As usual, what God had meant to be a blessing to men, instead became a burden, because of men’s desires to be in authority over others.

Jesus, in Matt 12: 3-6, points to two other occasions that these Pharisees might have considered violations of the law, but could not criticize because of who it was that committed the acts. In one case, it was King David, who along with his men ate consecrated bread. In the other, it was the priests, who in essence break the Sabbath while performing their priestly duties.

This was pointed out to show the Pharisees of the hypocrisy of their thinking and actions. He told them that one greater than David or the priests (He, himself) was here but they refused to recognize it. He explained that their interpretations of the law were wrong. He said that they did not understand what God meant when He said that He desires mercy over sacrifice (Hosea 6:6). He even told Him that He was the Lord of the Sabbath, but they did not receive it.

Later, Jesus entered a synagogue and a man with a shriveled hand was there. These men were still looking to accuse Jesus and they saw another opportunity to accuse Him, so they asked Him whether or not it was lawful to heal a Sabbath. Of course they did not care about His answer. They knew His compassion for people and figured He would do it. They were right. Jesus said it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath and then healed the man! After this, these men plotted to kill Jesus.

You might be asking, “what has that got to do with me? I agree with Jesus and I follow Him.” Well, look at what Jesus said in Luke 12:1
“He began saying to His disciples first of all, "Beware of the leaven (sin) of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”  (NASU
) Notice he said this to His disciples first of all. That means that even those who follow Jesus must beware of falling into the legalism that the Pharisees had been guilty of.

It means that we can turn the grace of God into a legalistic moral code, filled with our own ideas of what is right or wrong for a Christian. This is a trap and it will quickly steal your joy in the Lord! Jesus said of the Pharisees that they were whitewashed tombs, appearing beautiful on the outside, but inside they were full of dead men’s bones (Mt 23:27). Does that sometimes describe us? Do we care more about our outward appearance of religiosity than what is going on in our hearts? This does not mean that we disobey God or ignore His law. It means that we don’t add our own personal take to it. We don’t burden people, trying to judge them on some technicality, rather than the heart of His law and what it really says.

Let me give you a practical illustration of this. There are Christians, who unfortunately are addicted to smoking. Some people will quote scripture to them such as 1 Cor 6:19
“do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit…” then they add to it, 1 Cor 6:12, “
but I will not be mastered by anything” and completely condemn that person as though they might not even be saved. Instead of having compassion on the person and wanting to see them possibly gain victory over a habit, they make the person feel as though they don’t measure up. That is exactly what the Pharisees did. Let me point out that the context of the 6:19 verse had to do with sexual immorality and the second verse, 6:12 Paul started by saying all things are lawful for him. I guess that would have to include smoking.

The point is, that God wants our hearts. He is not interested in the external behaviors that we humans seem to value so much. So, beware of that Pharisee that lurks inside your own heart, that part of you that wants to look good on the outside even when we might be in total rebellion on the inside. Remember that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He did that for all those others that we might so quickly judge as well.

Instead seek to be transformed on the inside, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Seek to be a person of compassion, mercy and love, imitating your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In this way we testify to His love for all people!

God bless you


No comments:

Post a Comment